Skip to main content

Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

See other formats

32                              LIFE   OF
and no applications for mercy were of any avail. But
,at Humboldt's intercession, the matter was dropped.
In his favour, the Homans even departed from es-
tablished rules, and gave him freely what they had
never conceded to the protestaiits. Their burial place
by the Cestius pyramid is an open, xmenclosed space,
and may not be enclosed or fastened. But to the
family of Humboldt, the Romans voted an inclosed
.space among the other graves., and presented the spot
to them.
Although Humboldt had, as he himself says, little
to do with politics at the post in which he commenced
his diplomatic career, it was yet very well calculated
to develope in him the ability and finesse which
characterized him so eminently in subsequent years.
If there is a spot on which one can see through all
the tricks and cunning of low diplomacy, and learn
the greatness of the true science, Home is the place,
Oonsalvi himself was a head with whom alone it was
worth 'while to be matched.
Of the other diplomatists acting in Home at this
time we need only mention Cardinal Fesch, as Neapo-
litan ambassador, and the Danish envoy, Baron von
Schubart, who, being accredited also to the court of
Florence, generally resided in Leghorn. Schubart
was also celebrated as the patron of his countrymen,
especially of artists. He was intimate with Humboldt
and a -welcome guest ir\ his house, which was often
obliged to receive titled visitors who had nothing but
their rank to recommend them.
Humboldt and his wife took a lively interest in the
works of contemporary artists. The latter showed her
admiration for all branches of art, and she was indeed
more partial to the romantic style of painting than
lier husband, whom the bright figures and severe forms
of the ancients, and our classic poetry, had rendered
more averse to the sombre, confused, and sometimes
even morbid character of many of the modern art pro-
^factions. Besides this, poetry alone had occupied
Mm in his youth, and the other arts only when Ms